Emission profile of Pakistan’s agriculture: past trends and future projections


Reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions is a global concern after Paris Agreement (PA). Identification of GHG emission sources and accurate and precise estimation of the corresponding emissions is the first step to meet reduction targets under PA. Increasing share of agricultural emissions in the global concentration has raised concerns on this sector. Now, reducing agricultural emissions without compromising food security is a real challenge. The present study was aimed to provide the current emission profile of Pakistan’s agriculture, historical emission trends and future projections under agricultural growth scenarios according to prescribed guidelines of Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) for national GHGs inventory development. In this study, GHG emissions were estimated using United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Non-Annex-I Inventory Software (NAIIS), version 1.3.2 as per prescribed Revised 1996 IPCC Guidelines. In these emission estimations, tier-1 approach (which employs default emission factors) was used in accordance with national circumstances and data availability in the country. The emissions baseline was projected for 2030 under business as usual (BAU), food security (FS) and enhanced consumption pattern (ECP) scenarios. Agriculture sector emitted 174.6 million tons (Mt) of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2-equivalent) emissions, of which 89.8 Mt is methane (CH4) and 83.7 Mt is nitrous oxide (N2O). Carbon monoxide (CO) emissions were found to be 1.07 Mt of CO2-equivalent. Emission from agricultural soils constituted 45.5% of the total agricultural emissions followed by 45.1% from enteric fermentation and 6.5% from livestock manure management. The rest of 1.7% of the emissions were from rice cultivation followed by 1.1% from burning of crop residue. Historical emission trends showed that the agricultural emissions grew from 71.6 to 174.6 Mt of CO2-equivalent from 1994 to 2015, a 143.8% increase over the period of 21 years. Emissions baseline projections were found to be 271.9, 314.3 and 362.9 Mt tons of CO2-equivalent under BAU, FS and ECP scenarios, respectively.

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  1. 1.

    Emissions were reported in Pakistan’s Initial National Communication on Climate Change (UNFCCC 2003).

  2. 2.

    Emissions were reported in Applied System Analysis Division (ASAD) GHG Inventory Report 2008 (Ahmad et al. 2016).

  3. 3.

    Emissions were reported in Global Change Impact Studies Centre (GCISC) GHG Inventory Report 2012 (Mir and Ijaz 2016).


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Ijaz, M., Goheer, M.A. Emission profile of Pakistan’s agriculture: past trends and future projections. Environ Dev Sustain 23, 1668–1687 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10668-020-00645-w

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  • Greenhouse gas emissions
  • Agriculture
  • Emission trends
  • Emission projections